Q&A: Richt talks about Vandy, ‘Tree,’ Georgia D

ATHENS – A quick rundown of news, notes and quotes from the Georgia Bulldogs’ media session Tuesday in advance of Saturday’s game at Vanderbilt:

HEAD COACH MARK RICHT:

Opening Statement – “We are getting on the road again and playing Vanderbilt at their home. They have not lost at home this year. I know they are going to be working hard toward defending their turf. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been at halftime (at Vanderbilt) wondering what’s going on. They are an outstanding team and a team we have a lot of respect for. We certainly have a lot of respect for Coach (James) Franklin and his team, his coaching staff and the job they are doing.

“They started out 3-0. Our first taste of watching them was against Ole Miss. As we were preparing for Ole Miss we got to see them on both sides of the ball, and were very impressed. One thing that stands out to me is the number of guys they have from Georgia. There are a lot of guys from Georgia who are going to be playing in this ballgame, and I know how that usually affects a guy if you are playing Georgia and you’re from Georgia of if you’re playing Alabama and you’re from Alabama or whatever it might be. I know that will be a big deal for those guys.

“You hate to wait all day to play a game, especially on the road because you know you are going to get back late. Thankfully we have an open date after that, so it shouldn’t affect us too much. You can get behind the eight ball in your sleep pattern. I know I’m a little behind the eight ball from this last one against Tennessee. I’m glad we have an open date to let everybody get some sleep when we get home. It’s a great challenge, another Southeastern Conference game that we know is so crucial to us in trying to keep pace in the SEC East.”

On Georgia’s defense – “I don’t want to get too excited yet, but I’m feeling like we’ve built a very good foundation on defense. I’m hoping the best is yet to come. I think we are gaining confidence. If you can start out by stopping the running game, it’s huge. We’ve done a really good job with that, which has allowed us to get people out of their game plan a little bit. We’ve scored enough points also where he might cause people to think about getting out of their plan a little earlier than they wanted to, which is good. We’re doing so much better on third downs. That was a big issue last year. We got people in third downs, and got them in third-and-long a bunch, people just kept getting them. We’re just getting them off the field. We’re getting better time of possession because the offense is getting more opportunities. I like the direction we are going. I don’t want to say we are a dominating defense quite yet, but we’re showing some good signs.”

On play of LB Michael Gilliard – “Michael has really done well, and so has Amarlo (Herrera). Michael being named SEC Defensive Player of the Week was big for us and big for him. He deserves it. He’s really studied hard. He’s really been a very physical tackler, he’s been a sure tackler, and he’s had very few missed assignments. He’s doing a pretty good job of learning to communicate back there. That’s one of the things we all know that Christian Robinson had to his advantage was his ability to know what was going on, and not only to get himself lined up, but get other people lined up and make quick adjustments to motions and formations and shifts. Coach (Todd) Grantham told the guys that with injuries comes depth. You tend to gain more depth because guys get opportunities. If you have injuries where you lose guys for the entire season, that’s different. Christian is already back and (Alec) Ogeltree is looking really good. I don’t think there is any question at all that he’ll be ready for the Florida game. In the meantime, Amarlo has grown up some and Gilliard has grown up a bunch.”

Preseason expectations for Herrera – “When we were recruiting him we felt like he could play inside or outside linebacker. Sometimes you’ll say a linebacker is a three-for-three, meaning he could play inside or outside, basically he could play sam, mike or will. Some guys are only a middle linebacker, but we felt like he was athletic enough to play inside or out. We feel Ramik Wilson is athletic enough to play inside or out. It just turned out that we weren’t real deep at outside linebacker either and we put Ramik outside and Armarlo inside. What happened to Amarlo was there were injuries to his position. If there were injuries outside, we’d probably be talking about Ramik right now and what a great job he’s done. We think both of those kids can play inside or out.”

How defensive play affects offense — “If you feel like your defense is taking care of business you do tend to want to put it in their hands. You do tend to want to help them by chewing as much clock as possible. If the other team is having trouble scoring, you don’t want to take a whole lot of risks offensively that would allow them to score defensively like we did in the Mississippi State game when we threw that pick six. That certainly is not what you want to do when your defense is playing that well. In regard to this last ballgame around the middle of the fourth quarter, we pretty much shut down the offense as far as doing everything that we do. We have to be better at being able to get one first down. If we can’t do it by running the football exclusively, then we still might have to be willing to chunk it, and move the chains once or twice and the game is over. Because when we did go three and out the one time, by the time they got the ball back there was plenty of time to score and actually kickoff, get the ball back and score again or onside kick and get the ball and score twice. The shame of the game was when we got to the 23-yard line within (Blair) Walsh’s range with a chance to go up 17 at worst. Then we had all those penalties that forced that game into going down to the wire, quite frankly. We just have to do a better job of finishing offensively when we need to.”

On Malcolm Mitchell’s hamstring injury — “I don’t know what grade it is, I just know that he won’t play this week. We are very hopeful that he’ll play in the next one. We’re confident that he’ll be able to play in the game against Florida.”

On Rantavious Wooten’s status – “We keep waiting for all the symptoms of the concussion to go away where we can start to exert him physically and see how he responds to that before he even gets to practice. We’re still in stage one trying to get to where he’s asymptomatic, and he’s not there right now.”

On John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers – “It’s good competition, that’s the main thing. Both of those guys are playing well, both of those guys are going to play. I’m not even so sure that Kwame didn’t get more reps in the game. I didn’t ask Rodney (Garner) the count, but it’s very close to being equal or Kwame may have even had more. I think Rodney is going to watch them during the week. The first thing he is going to do is grade the last game and he might reward a guy who played better to move him into that number one spot. By the end of the week he might change his mind according to how they practiced. Then as the game goes on, he is going to see how those guys are playing and see their energy level and their production and go from there. The good news is we have two guys who can play and two guys who know that you have to compete for that starting job on a weekly basis. That when you really have something going on.”

On Kosta Vavlas – “Kosta has really come in and done a great job for us. He did get four tackles on special teams, which is hard to do in just one game. If we had defensive guys who would have that that type of tackle per play ratio that would be pretty astronomical. He loves to play. He runs hard and avoids the block as he’s taught to do. He’s very disciplined in how he goes about his business. He’s been a real sure tackler. You have to have athletic ability and strength and all that kind of thing, but you really have to want to be good at that. You have to have some nerve because you are flying down the field and you never know who is going to be trying to knock you sideways. You have to keep your head on the swivel a little bit, and if you hesitate you won’t make the play. He doesn’t hesitate. He goes and I think the fact that Blake Sailors has been the marked man in our special teams because a year ago he was the one making all the tackles and the first guy down there. Now they are trying to get a plan for Blake, it’s freeing up some opportunities for other guys and Kosta is one of the guys doing a great job of it.”

On TB Isaiah Crowell – “When Isaiah has some space he is hard to get a good hit on. Sometimes you are going to run into a situation where there is not a lot of space and you just have to stick it in there and run your feet and get as much out of it as you can. I think he’s learning to do that better than he did in the beginning of the season. I think he’s learning that not every single play there’s going to be a lot of space. It’s SEC football. You watch SEC games and you watch NFL games, and sometimes there is some good space and sometimes there is not. The times there is not, you have to stick it in the softest spot you can find and grind your feet, and you may get two yards after contact. In the meantime you have to wrap up the ball. He’s done a very good job of the ball security for the first six ballgames. The first one I can remember spitting out of there happened in this game, and thankfully it went out of bounds. I’ve been pleased with his progress, and I think he’s learning every week. He’s getting better every week. I think if he keeps growing he’s really going to be something special.”

On deciding how much to use Brandon Boykin on offense – “A lot of it has to do with the look in his eyes. Sometime at the moment of truth, there might be a play that Coach (Mike) Bobo wants to run and at that moment in time he may like tired or just took a shot where he needs a few minutes to let that thing ease up a little bit after a kick return or something like that. That’s part of it, and we are also training Branden Smith to do most everything that Brandon Boykin is doing on a weekly basis. Smith is also a guy who could be available. Earlier in the year that was the plan, but Branden Smith had the foot injury. He was doing all he could just to play defense when he came back. We didn’t want to stress him offensively too. Now that he’s healthy and Boykin’s healthy, it could be either one of those two guys now in that role.”

On Brandon Boykin’s skill set — “He’s good enough to be an outstanding corner in the Southeastern Conference. He’s good enough to be one of the best kick returners and punt returners in the conference and in the country. Offensively I don’t even know how good he could have been if that’s where he started. I think he would have been highly productive. I’m not sure if he would have been a tailback or a receiver, but he has the skill sets to do either one of those and absolutely would make plays. I think the question would have been what the durability would have been if he would have been a tailback. But he’s strong, he’s smart, got great hands and a great competitor.”

On the health of Georgia’s offensive line – “It’s good. (Kenarious) Gates came out of it pretty good. He did spend some time when it got sore and bothered him a little bit. We were kind of wondering if he had set himself back, but he was fine. He lined up yesterday. Ron (Courson) really felt like he didn’t do anything to set him back and that he’s going to probably be even more healthy this week if we can get through today and tomorrow without anything happening. Right now I think it would be Burnette and Dallas Lee with Gates ready to be the first guy in.”

GEORGIA PLAYERS

Freshman WR Chris Conley:

  • On starting to feel comfortable on the field — “Yes, I think it’s something that is really a testament to how we practice and the way we take care of things on the field. It really translates to game day; you’re supposed to put yourself in that situation before you’re actually there, so it makes things easier when you’re actually on the field.”
  • On getting playing time early in the year — “It was sort of up in the air; I talked to my coaches about it and they didn’t really give me an answer. They said it was still an evaluation, they wanted to see how I keep developing and ultimately they said that decision would be made around game five. It was made a little earlier than that, though.”
  • On playing early — “Playing early, for me, was something that I definitely wanted to do, but it was not so much of a goal as it was a milestone to some of my other goals. Being on the field isn’t really doing anything yet; there are a lot of things that I want to accomplish.”

Senior TE Aron White:

  • On the tight ends getting more play against Vanderbilt — “I feel like any given week, there’s an opportunity, depending on the defensive schemes that they run for the tight ends to have a break-out game. We saw that a couple of weeks ago when we played Ole Miss, the tight ends really stood out. Definitely, the less playmakers we have at wide receiver, the more chances are that the coaches are going to call a play in my favor. By no means do I think that the tight ends are going to make or break this game. I feel like we have the ability to win the game either way. I feel like we’ve been very balanced across the board this year, using a lot of different players, a lot of different receivers have caught balls for us and three or four back have had carries. We definitely spread the ball around and with the balanced running game, it’s going to open things up for the tight ends, and the wide receivers for that matter. Anytime that you have an established running game, the play-action becomes huge, they have to respect it. Vanderbilt is a team that has a very good secondary, they are definitely going to be a challenge because their defense has been playing very well.”
  • On what the offense is doing well six games into the season — “I think we’ve moved the ball very well. We’ve been able to change field position no matter what throughout this season. We haven’t had many 3-and-outs, and I feel like that’s something we struggled with at times last year. One thing we have struggled with is finishing drives late in the game. I don’t think it’s something that’s going to hurt our season, but it’s definitely something that we’ve noticed that we need to get better at.”

Junior LB Mike Gilliard:

  • On being a role model — “It means a lot to me to have young people look up to me. I want to have a positive impact on other people lives, especially young kids.”
  • On the defense — “We have gotten a lot of confidence in the last few weeks. Week in and week out Coach Grantham emphasizes being one of the best defenses in the country. Each week, our main goal is to practice and to get better and on Saturday’s it shows.”
  • On being like past Georgia defenses — “I think we are getting back to the days of some of the great Georgia defenses. We try to emphasize how important it is to get back to being one of the old junkyard dog defenses of the past. I feel like week in and week out we are making strides to being a great defense.”

Sophomore OLB Chase Vasser:

  • On how the defense has improved — “We have grown up and matured a lot since the beginning of the season. We are a lot more comfortable lining up on the field and making changes if we see something the offense is doing. Coach Grantham goes over the ways our opponent will line up, so we can know what to expect. If we see something, we can make the necessary adjustments.”
  • On Vanderbilt — “Vanderbilt is a hard-nosed team that will hit you in the mouth on every play if you aren’t expecting it. We have to make sure that we are ready to play. The game is at their place and they have had a lot of success at home this year. We have to make sure to remember that they are not the teams from the past. They have improved a lot, have won some games and will have a lot of momentum going into the game this weekend. We have to be ready to play.

134 comments Add your comment

Ron Swanson

October 11th, 2011
3:11 pm

Wow, what a bitter old man. Written like an angry 19 year-old. Why don’t you grow up and enjoy the golden years?

JJ

October 11th, 2011
3:15 pm

Couldn’t stop Lattimore, but defense is doing good against the cupcakes, just like last year. Richt’s naiive.

Crowell has gotten worse every game in yards per carry last 4 in a row, down from 7+ against SC, to 5.7, to 5.4, to 4.7, to 3.1 ypc last game. He is not getting better, don’t know what Richt’s referring to.

jwritz

October 11th, 2011
3:16 pm

Reposting…that was not needed. What is your point? Are you better than everybody else…

beanster

October 11th, 2011
3:18 pm

The inferiority complex is hilarious to me.

beanster

October 11th, 2011
3:20 pm

“knew which side of the 8-ball they were on” — what a pos.

Your father

October 11th, 2011
3:23 pm

Wow, what a complete loser the guy who wrote the “reposting” rant is. First off, he couldn’t be more factually inaccurate.
Anyone who has ever experienced any real success in life would never write such a hilarious post. Anyway, it’s cute when Tech losers get loose on the computer. Hahaha.

UGA '05

October 11th, 2011
3:25 pm

Reposting
So what about those UGA Grads making over 6 figures now?

mike

October 11th, 2011
3:25 pm

response to Reposting……..YAWN

Your father

October 11th, 2011
3:26 pm

It’s ok “Reposting,” I remember when i had my first beer too…

Dawgy1

October 11th, 2011
3:28 pm

JJ you’re a sad little man………I mean boy.

DJ Dawg

October 11th, 2011
3:30 pm

@RepostIng

Come on now tell the truth, You and GT Joe work side by side at the Varsity! Now get me a frosted orange dammit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

uga_b

October 11th, 2011
3:30 pm

At least our student athletes takes classes at OUR institution.

Dawgsin11

October 11th, 2011
3:31 pm

RepostIng, this isn’t going to substantially help your inferior complex. Make sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.

DawginLex

October 11th, 2011
3:31 pm

Reposting

I can guarantee you one thing

YOU WOULD NEVER WORK FOR ME LOSER BOY!!!

THIS IS ONE UGA GRAD THAT WOULD NEVER HIRE YOU!!

georgiadawg70

October 11th, 2011
3:33 pm

What was the name of the Tech quarterback that threw the ball out of bounds on fourth down? What kind of engineer did he become? Maybe a sanitation engineer. Or your tail back that ran out of bounds against Maryland when you were trying to run out the clock. It cost you the game and gave O’leary a hear attack. I personally knew his tutor. He was barely literate.

bubba4dawgs

October 11th, 2011
3:34 pm

I love the posting above from the Techie who doesn’t know his a** from a hole in the ground! Get real guy and get a life! I bet he was the personnel director of a Fortune 500 Company! He at least used the word WAS and not in the present tense. Of course, he didn’t explain that he wasn’t their very long. The Company could well have been # 500 and then he may well not have even gotten a job much less graduated from Nerd school. Get a life guy!!!

Gdawg

October 11th, 2011
3:34 pm

REPOSTING, HEY I AM AN OUT OF WORK UGA GRAD. I DO ODD JOBS, CAN I HELP FIX UP YOUR PARENTS BASEMENT TO MAKE IT MORE HOMEY FOR YOU? COULD I BUILD A GLASS CASE FOR YOUR BATTLE STAR GALACTICA TEA SHIRT OR YOUR BUZZ BLACK STOCKINGS.

YOU KNOW WHATS COMING IN NOVEMBER DONT YOU????ALL OF YOU KNOW IT DEEP IN YOUR GUT….IT MAKES YOU WANT TO VOMMIT!

Bright Idea

October 11th, 2011
3:36 pm

My wife’s friend has a daughter at Tech. She does not understand the hatred between Tech and Georgia. I can send her REPOSTING to explain it. Techies always getting on a sports page telling us how smart they are and how dumb we are while their kids are blowing up campus or mugging one another.

MS Dooley

October 11th, 2011
3:37 pm

The defense is getting their Rile up!!!

cry some more JJ

October 11th, 2011
3:37 pm

In those 3 of those 4 games I believe Crowell was awarded player of the week honors…your argument is invalid.

JaxDawg05

October 11th, 2011
3:39 pm

WOW! Tech grad has got to get a hobby.

8th Floor of Brumby Hall

October 11th, 2011
3:39 pm

Good to hear Tree is coming along and healing up well. Hopefully, we can get past Vandy with no major injuries and be ready for the big one down at the WLOCP.

JJ

October 11th, 2011
3:40 pm

Richt thinks 3.1 ypc is better than 7 ypc. richt thinks Crowell is getting better.

Chip Towers

October 11th, 2011
3:40 pm

“Reposting” has been banned for name-calling and posting under multiple names.

Folks, please be respectful of one another.

Chip Towers

October 11th, 2011
3:41 pm

MS Dooley: Good one. And for those that mentioned it at the time, I went back and listened again and she did indeed say “got my rile up.” It’s an old Southern colloquialism.

Delbert D.

October 11th, 2011
3:43 pm

That guy has a lot of hubris. Watch, he’ll go look up the definition and come back with another 3 paragraphs.

JB

October 11th, 2011
3:43 pm

Boy did that first poster miss out on a lot of good potential employees. Unless he just wanted an engineer…

I suppose what it really amounted to was being part of the 10% club.

HBTD!!!

Nate the Great

October 11th, 2011
3:43 pm

@ Reposting: Then you woke up and relized you are a nerd that never had any position of authority because youwould let your hatred for a football cloud your judgement. Business is business and NO fotune 500 company would ever be run as you say you did.

If anything that you post is trueI notice that all of your post is in the past tense, is that because they fired you for gross incompetence. And I bet it was UGA grad that did the firing!!!

MS Dooley

October 11th, 2011
3:45 pm

I have employeed both Tech and Georgia grads in the past and it is funny to me that there is very little difference in the two with one exception. Tech grads had a sense of entitlement and got fired and UGA grads actually understood that their education was only the start.

DJ Dawg

October 11th, 2011
3:45 pm

Thanks Chip ! reposting got “my rile up”!

Dawg48

October 11th, 2011
3:46 pm

@ JJ Put on the blue shirt man join the gators if your going to hate on the dawgs!

beanster

October 11th, 2011
3:47 pm

Great transcription again this week, Chip. There isn’t a better source for dawg info out there.

doodoobailey

October 11th, 2011
3:49 pm

Haiku for Reposting:

Bumble bee dreams big
Yet always number 2 in
the State of Georgia

DJ Dawg

October 11th, 2011
3:49 pm

Chip

Could you give the definition of the word colloquialism, so all the Tech nerds on here can understand?

jahmezdawg

October 11th, 2011
3:50 pm

to reposted, its funny how you talk about running a fortune 500 company yet had so much time on your hands that you could come onto the UGA website on ajc.com to read and be the first to post on a blog about mark richt’s vandy conference. Let me guess, your fortune 500 company was a castle on world of warcraft right?

doodoobailey

October 11th, 2011
3:50 pm

Good transcript Chip

gomdawg

October 11th, 2011
3:51 pm

jj get a life if you can’t see Crowell being a very good player you need help a lot of help

JJ

October 11th, 2011
3:52 pm

Even though Crowell is 4th in SEC in attempts per game, he’s 9th in td’s, and 14th in ypc. He’s ok, but he’s no Ealey or Moreno, both got 5.7 ypc their Fresh year.

Vandyfan12

October 11th, 2011
3:53 pm

I hope that the UGA fan base is overlooking Vandy this Saturday. They are playing much better this season under Coach James Franklin. It was no shame for Vandy to lose to SC and Ala. There are several playmakers on the Vandy squad who are from Georgia who will be very motivated to upset the Dawgs. UGA should be on upset alert. It may be the 1st game for the backup qb Jordan Rogers; whith all the Rogers hype and qb controversy in Nashville, most teams over-perform when a backup starts his 1st game. Expect Rogers to start and a close game late in the 4th qtr with the game being won by maybe 3 points. 12 points spread is very generaous for this game. The Dores are not that bad and UGA is not as good as hyped. Go Dores !

Mack Alexander

October 11th, 2011
3:54 pm

My comment to this article is all positive, I consider UGA and it’s coaching staff as having the University always in there best interest. When a repost such as the one above ( RepostIng) shows in the comment column of a sports article about UGA football and its players it sort of gets my dander up. The person who wrote this and claims to be a former personnel director for a fortune five hundred company and a graduate of one of our other state supported schools is a racist, bigot and a discriminator. I’m very sorry to have read the article and found the likes of him claiming to have graduated from Georgia Tech.

We in Athens are Georgia and we run this state. Go Dawgs!

JJ

October 11th, 2011
3:56 pm

Ealey got 6.6 ypc last year in the 4th quarter, Crowell’s at 3.6 ypc in 4th quarter. He’s no Ealey, just an average back. 14 or 15 guys in SEC are ahead of him.

DJ Dawg

October 11th, 2011
3:56 pm

@Vandyfan12

Trust me,we are not looking past you guys that is for sure!!!!!

DawginLex

October 11th, 2011
3:57 pm

JJ

Congratulations on your 100th blog handle

Stopped bashing Murray and now turned your attention to Crowell?

Your idiotic rant has not changed even though your target has.

Crowell is better than Ealey ever was or ever will be
Moreno never played as a true freshman

Go play in traffic

JJ

October 11th, 2011
3:58 pm

Crowell’s fumble against SC that went for a td cost us the game. Lot worse than Ealey’as fumble vs. SC last year.

Crowell’s pass pro is horrible, Murray’s been sacked 13 times already.

duronimo

October 11th, 2011
4:02 pm

I think the defense is better. Grantham’s energy is a welcome sight on the sidelines. What Crowell is ultimately going to be is uncertain. He could go backwards like Washun or he could step up and fulfill his potential. When he takes himself out of the game (and he seems to do that a lot) we need a better backup than Samuel. He must have an inner ear problem. He gets the ball and starts to fall.

Dawg48

October 11th, 2011
4:04 pm

@ ddawg in lex I ask you the other day on the blog but you prob got off but any way. Do you think we should sit ogaltree for the year and get him a medical redshirt? Or line backer core is looking good.

Thomas Brown

October 11th, 2011
4:09 pm

Rile up. No one around here getting their rile up. Maybe that is part of the issue.

Thomas Brown

October 11th, 2011
4:11 pm

JJ,

The fumble was by Aaron Murray sir, not Isaiah Crowell.

jahmezdawg

October 11th, 2011
4:15 pm

wow JJ what were your stats when you play college football as a freshman I bet with the way you talk I bet you ran for a touchdown evertime they handed the ball off to you. bro crowell is tied for 24th in the nation in rushing yards and avg 4.9 ypc for a freshman playing in the toughest conference in the nation. get real bro this isnt a video game you cant break one everytime you touch the ball he will get better with age but you seriously need to understand that this is a pro style offense that relies on both the run and the pass so hes not going to have the biggest stats because hes not the focal point of the offense. Football is played on the field and not just in a video game where you run for 300 yards and 10 touchdowns a game

DawginLex

October 11th, 2011
4:15 pm

48

Ogletree will be needed down the stretch. When healthy, he is our best linebacker